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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

U.S. Senate Approves Historic Climate Action; "Suicidal" Shelling In Ukraine; Remembering Olivia Newton-John. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired August 08, 2022 - 17:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Christina Macfarlane in London. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

The climate crisis front and center in the U.S. The president toured a flood-ravaged state one day after his party takes a step towards historic

climate change legislation.

The fighting in Ukraine gets suicidal as shelling rages around a nuclear power plant.

And remembering Olivia Newton-John. The singer and actress known to the world as "Sandy" in "Grease" has passed away at 73.

Climate activists worldwide are hailing the U.S. Senate's passage of a massive measure to fight climate change. As if to underscore the urgency,

U.S. President Joe Biden was in Kentucky Monday comforting the survivors of devastating floods that killed at least 38 people.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As you all know. We've suffered the consequence of climate change most significant number of weather

catastrophes around the nation.


MACFARLANE: Well, in fact, many experts say the Kentucky floods are typical of the kind of disastrous global warming is already bringing.

Democrats say the measure, America's largest ever investment in climate action will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by the year 2030.

They pushed it through a straight party line vote that every Republican resisted.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative, and the bill as

amended is passed.



MACFARLANE: CNN chief climate correspondent Bill Weir says there's a lot to like in the U.S. climate package. He joins us now from New York.

Good to see you, Bill.


MACFARLANE: So, after generations of inaction, finally, we have some movement. It is, of course, a scale back agreement on President Biden's

original climate ambitions.

But, Bill, walk us through here what's going to be the most impactful measures on climate change, and also, crucially, what's been left out of

this package?

WEIR: Well, a lot of optimism for the Democratic Party. They see this as a real inflection point. Something that Americans will be looking at

generations from now and say, this was the moment they started to take serious and transition away from fuels that leak and burn into a cleaner

future. It touches pretty much every factor of our lives from transportation, to housing, to the power sector. Which is the biggest --

brunt as well and it doesn't with a lot of care it seems that it sticks.

In the past, sort of tariffs and punitive damages and measures to try to force this transition didn't work under President Obama. So, they'll try

and say this time that there is a layered tax incentive and rebates. So, if you buy a car with a battery in the minerals come from a trading partner,

it was responsibly resourced, if it was built maybe with Native American labor union labor, tax breaks get higher, and higher.

So, they think this will entice investors in the private market to come in and match this public investment. Maybe even double it to close to a

trillion dollars over the next ten years. But to put it in context, the real climate hawks like Bernie Sanders they want to be spending a trillion

dollars every year because the scope of this emergency is a tiny drop of the bucket when compared to the budgets of the Pentagon. Or the profits of

big oil companies as well.

But the stuff that was left out, like a civilian conservation corps, where people would sign up for a couple years and go into either a natural

disaster area, and help folks our help the country heal and different ways. That didn't make it, they were others as well, but surprisingly to the

shock of other consider those all but that a week ago. A lot of the provisions from keeping nuclear power going, to green hydrogen, to carbon

capture, a funding increased by 13 fold. It pretty much touches everything, all the different tools in the box. That's why there's so much enthusiasm.

MACFARLANE: And, presumably, Bill, this is now given the U.S. renewed credibility on climate internationally. What are your expectations to how

this will incentivize other nations to be more ambitious on climate, even impact the nation like China, who we know are big outliers right now.

WEIR: Well, the whole break down with China over Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan's unfortunate. John Kerry says this is punishing all of humanity.

Not just the geopolitical rival right now.

But the United States is back at the table and ultimately, I think it will come down to money talking and markets opening up.


And top historic a leader of this problem -- in the United States, China is now number two, has surpassed in terms of the motion today. Without these

top to, you can't expect the rest of the world -- that have not been part of yet. That the world needs to get to net zero. Getting this ball rolling,

about 15 less than that in the recession. Barack Obama put stimulus money to try to back solar projects, which are very nascent in this country at

the time.

Well, since then prices have come down 90 percent. A lot of that was that early government investment, folks are hoping that this does the same and

it's put forward as well.

MACFARLANE: Bill Weir, great to have you there to break it all down for us. I appreciate your time.

WEIR: Thank you, Christina.

MACFARLANE: OK. Well, the U.N. secretary general says recent shelling around Europe's largest nuclear power plant is suicidal, urging an end to

the attack at the Zaporizhzhia in Central Ukraine. The Ukraine energy company says that radiation census have been damaged calling it, a miracle

that a nuclear catastrophe was averted.

Ukraine and Russia are battling each other for the attacks. Russian forces have controlled the plant since early March.

CNN's David McKenzie is following the story for us from Kyiv.

David, the details here are murky, we know the chance of a nuclear disaster very high right now.

We also know, the IAEA is attempting to access the plant. What are the chances of that going ahead given the complex collaboration needed on both

sides for that to happen?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know at this stage, Christina. He did have a bit of a window of opportunity

potentially opening up with the representative of Russia to the Atomic Energy Agency, telling state media, they might welcome those inspectors.

But as you say, it would be a complicated undertaking, because this nuclear power plant, some ten hours drive to the south of where I'm standing. It's

a huge complexity of Russian soldiers and military hardware inside and around the complex, for some months. Now on the other side of the river, on

the same side, you have Ukrainian military positions.

Now it is murky. Both sides are accusing each other. The president of Ukraine just a short time ago accusing Russia of nuclear terrorism. For

their part, the Russians from the foreign ministry, the spokesperson saying that Ukraine is holding Europe hostage because of its actions.

But we do know, through this war though is that there were shells landing in or close to the war close to those nuclear reactors, in the complex we

should say. It's making everybody very nervous that watch this closely. There was no immediate danger of a fallout situation. But the nuclear

watchdog and others are saying that this needs to be de-escalated very frequently. Despite it being a key theater of the conflict here in Ukraine

-- Christina.

MCFARLANE: All right. David McKenzie there live in Kyiv, thanks very much, David.

Well, a cease fire between Israel and Islamic jihad military in Gaza is holding up after a weekend of deadly airstrikes and rocket fire. Israel

said it was targeting terror is that pose an imminent threat. Israel's prime minister saying it felt a, quote, devastating blow to Islamic jihad

leadership. But Palestinian officials say wasn't just militants who are killed. They say at least 15 children died in the violence.

Hadas Gold brings us up to date.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For nearly two and a half days, Israeli airstrikes and Islamic jihad rockets shattered the calm in

Gaza in southern Israel.

The conflict starting Friday when Israel preemptively struck Islamic jihad targets, attacking what it said were concrete threats from militants.

Shortly after, the silence began to wail in Israel. The Iron Dome aerial defense system began its work, intercepting all of the incoming rocket


In Gaza though, there are no sirens. In history of health they're saying that 44 people were killed, and more than 300 injured in the week and

violence, 15 of them were children, including five-year-old Alaa Qadoum killed in one of Israel's opening salvos.

Israel insists that nearly all of those killed in their airstrikes were militants, and released video that showed that an explosion in Jabalia in

which four children were among seven killed, was caught caused by a failed rocket launch by militants. By Sunday night, Islamic jihad launch more than

1,000 rockets, and Israel had struck more than 140 targets in Gaza. As Egyptian mediators, they managed to broker a cease-fire but not before a

final volley of airstrikes and rockets.

Both sides as usual declaring victory.

CROWD: Allahua Akbar. Allahu Akbar.


GOLD: Israel highlighting the deaths of two militant commanders, saying it had wiped out the top security brass of the Islamic jihad, while the

militant group said that they confronted the Israeli aggression with strength.

ZIYAD AL-NAKLAH, ISLAMIC JIHAD IN PALESTINE (through translator): Today after the clashes stopped and the fire stopped, we saw a clear scene. The

Islamic jihad movement is still strong and stable and even more powerful.

GOLD: The cease-fire coming just in time for the already precarious humanitarian situation in Gaza, where is near breaking point and border

closures meant that the enclave's only power station had run out of fuel, causing massive electricity shortages.

But by Monday, the trucks were rolling into Gaza again. The fragile normalcy or what passes for it returning.

Hadas Gold, CNN, along the Israeli-Gaza border.


MACFARLANE: Well, let's get more now from our Ben Wedeman who's live in Gaza City.

And, Ben, as important as the cease-fire is, it's very little to help Palestinians with the economic conditions facing them there on a day-to-day

basis. How are people feeling there, after this latest incursion and are the administration of Israel giving any incentive to avoid further


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, people I have to say are accustomed to these occasional rounds of violence, I've been

covering Gaza almost 30 years, they come with depressing regularity. But, surprisingly enough, this evening for instance in Gaza its past midnight.

But earlier in the evening, there were lots of traffic in the streets. There were children playing in the parks. So they have sort of a very good

snap back ability despite the kind of destruction we've seen over the last three days.

Now, I went to one house in a neighborhood in Gaza City. That house was completely destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, on Saturday when I arrived

there was an NGO delivering food and supplies, one of the residents of that house a rather one or the residents of that former house, told me yes,

we're thankful for this help. He said how am I going to rebuild my house, how am I going to rebuild my life?

And it's important to stress here that the situation, the humanitarian situation in Gaza has really been bad now, going back almost to the

beginning of the second Palestinian Intifada in September 2000, when gradually, Israel has tightened its blockade on the gas a stretch and

really tightened it after 2006 when Hamas won, by all accounts was democratic election. And then Egypt joined the blockade as well.

If you look for instance, the statistics are pretty damning for instance, according to one study conducted in May of this year, 68 percent of

households and Gaza are under severe or moderate food stress. And otherwise, they don't have food, and only 14 percent of children in Gaza

according to the study actually have a proper diet.

This was all before the latest round of fighting. The expectation is that, perhaps things will ease up a bit. As Hadas was reporting, fuel has begun

to arrive in Gaza. The electricity output of the main power plant has doubled from two hours a day during the fighting before.

Tomorrow, the Karem Abu Salem crossing which is the main crossing for supplies from Israel into Gaza will resume normal operations. But normally,

something that most people outside of Gaza wouldn't recognize, here as far as the political horizon going forward. But we saw in this conflict is that

Israel focused exclusively on Islamic jihad, which is the second largest faction here, but left Hamas, which is the defector real or of gas alone.

And, therefore, it appears that Israel and Hamas have achieved some sort of mode I separate and i, despite their mutual hostility. And that will

continue. But the fear is, this conflict this ground is over. But maybe in a year, two, or three another round of fighting will erupt -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: Yeah. Ben, very good to have you there for us live in Gaza City tonight. Thank you.


All right. Coming up after the break, four Muslim men ambushed and shot to death. Now police are searching for answers. We'll have the details coming


And we'll take you to Taiwan, or China has conducted its fifth day of military drills.


MACFARLANE: A community shaken in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after the recent killing a four men. The victims had one thing in common, they were

Muslim. Three of the killings happened in the last two weeks.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Albuquerque where the police are trying to find the killer.

And, Ed, where the police apple tracking down the suspect?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far the only indication that we've gotten insight into the investigation stands right now from all the

Albuquerque police, they released this picture of a gray sedan, described as a Volkswagen Jetta or Passat. They believe that whoever's been driving

that car, the driver that people might be able to provide them with information as to what has been happening.

What police have said, about these murders and we can lay out the timeline is that every single one of these victims, all four were essentially

attacked by surprise. They were killed in an ambush style. The first murder, Christina, happened back in November of last year. And then now, in

the last two weeks we've seen three murders.

In fact, the last victim was here at this mosque just after the funeral services for the previous two victims. And he was talking to members of the

mosque here, asking questions about what was going on with these attacks. And then just a few hours later, he also was dead.

So, there is a great deal of fear, and trepidation of what is going on. Muslim leaders here and it's a small community, Albuquerque -- about 3,000

to 4,000 Muslims that have moved here to Albuquerque area.


Many of them just in the last few years, either through immigrations, visas, or through refugee process here in the United States.

So, it's a tight-knit community, this kind of news is sending shockwaves. People are scared, they're worried about where the next attack might

happen. And they are urging people to not go out alone at night. To use the buddy system to keep track of friends and loved ones as they move about the

city. Essentially urging everyone to be very careful, always be aware of their surroundings right now.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, must be incredibly stressful for the Muslim community, while the killer still at large.

Ed, thank you so much for that update.

Chinese military forces conducted a new military exercises around Taiwan on Monday. Chinese foreign minister says the drills were taken place in,

quote, China's own waters. U.S. President Joe Biden says he's concerned, but he doesn't believe China will ramp up its military efforts.

CNN's Will Ripley sat down with Taiwan's foreign minister.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Taiwan was lighting up a landmark for U.S. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi,

China was lighting up the skies and seas, a round the self governing democracy, a democracy in danger of a Chinese takeover, if Beijing's

communist rulers get their way.

Pelosi was in Taiwan less than 24 hours, leaving behind a crisis some say she helped create.

Was there any concern in Taipei about the timing of this and whether it might provoke some sort of reaction from China?

JOSEPH WU, TAIWANESE FOREIGN MINISTER: We knew the China always reacted badly whenever we had good friends coming to visit us. The Chinese

government cannot dictate who can come and who cannot come. And they cannot dictate Taiwan, who can be our friends or who we should make friends with.

RIPLEY: But what if China goes further as a result of these visits? Or using this visit as an excuse? Do the benefits outweigh the risk for


WU: One, is what China is doing is unwarranted. And what it is doing is upsetting the peace and stability in the western Pacific. And it is

something that should not be welcomed by international community.

RIPLEY: Taiwan's foreign minister, Joseph Wu, tell CNN China's were games are formed isolating the island.

Pelosi, the most powerful politician to visit in 25 years.

Is Taiwan a more danger today than it was before Nancy Pelosi's visit?

WU: China has always been threatening Taiwan for years. And it is getting more serious in the last few years. And it's always been that way. Whether

Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan or not, the Chinese military threat against Taiwan has already been there.

RIPLEY: What do you believe China's motivation is? And do you think that their timeline has changed?

WU: China's motivation, as I said a little bit earlier, is not going to end in Taiwan. They claim the East China Sea, they claim South China Sea.

They work very hard to go to the Pacific. Their influence in South Asia and Africa, even in Latin America, is unprecedented these days. And therefore,

it has a global ambition.

RIPLEY: Ambition driven by China's most powerful leader since Mao, Xi Jinping, on track to become president for life, with a burning desire to

unify with Taiwan, by force if necessary.

Hs Taiwan's democratic system ever been in more danger than it is today?

WU: I can tell you the Taiwan is more resilient than before. Look at Taiwan these days. China is trying to impose trade sanctions against

Taiwan, trying to attack Taiwan from military or non-military aspects. But life goes on here in Taiwan.

RIPLEY: Should people in Taiwan be more worried?

WU: If you ask me, I worry. A little bit.

RIPLEY: What do you worry about?

WU: I worry that China may really launch a war against Taiwan. But what it's doing right now, is trying to scare us. And the best way to deal with,

it to show to China, that we are not scared.

RIPLEY: He calls China's military felt more serious than ever, Taiwan's warning to the world, the danger does not stop here.

Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


MACFARLANE: Now people around the world are paying tribute to Olivia Newton-John who died at the age of 73 after a long battle with breast

cancer. The singer gained worldwide fame co-starring in "Grease", one of the most popular musicals in Hollywood history.

Ana Cabrera looks back in her career.


ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Olivia Newton-John's shot to stardom opposite John Travolta in the musical blockbuster "Grease". It was

1978. She was 29 years old but played an innocent teen in love with the boy from the other side of the tracks.

Newton John first went over devoted fans as an award winning singer in the early `70s.


"Let me be there" earned her Grammy Award for Best Country Female Vocal Performance. And her 1974 chart-topping hit, "I Honestly Love You", won the

Grammy for a Record of the Year.

Over the course of her career, Newton-John sold more than 100 million albums, score multiple a number one hits, including "Magic" from her box

office dud "Xanadu", and one that showcase her sexier side.

Born in England, Newton-John moved to Australia at the age of five. By the time she was a teenager, she was already performing on Australian TV shows

like "Bandstand".

In addition to her singing, Newton-John was well-known as a tireless advocate for breast cancer research and early detection. She was diagnosed

with the disease in 1992, and her successful treatment inspired her to help others.

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN, SINGER & ACTRESS: I'm really thrilled that now, I can give back in some way, and trying to help other women who have gone through

that experience because it's a very difficult thing to go through alone.

CABRERA: The Australian singer faced another crisis in 2005 when her boyfriend Patrick McDermott went missing during a fishing trip off the

California coast. He was never found.

NEWTON-JOHN: The pain will always be there. I miss some, I love a. But I can't do anything about it. I don't know if I'll ever know what happened.

But I tried to go forward and do something positive with it by creating music for myself and hopefully for others.

CABRERA: And she never stopped creating music performing into her `60s during a three-year residency at Las Vegas' Flamingo Casino.

Newton-John's breast cancer returned in 2013. In 2017, she was diagnosed with spine cancer. Despite life challenges, she always remained grateful.

NEWTON-JOHN: I don't think I change anything because I've had such an amazingly interesting life. I've done so many things. I never planned on

any of them really except singing, because that's all I could do.


MACFARLANE: And friend and fellow "Grease" star John Travolta has just paid tribute to the singer saying: My dearest Olivia, you made all of our

lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road. And we will be together again. He signs off,

your Danny, your John.

Okay, thank you for watching. That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Stay with us. "WORLD SPORT" is up next.